Well the blog has been quiet this week, and will remain so. Sorry. Finals week here in my real life. My day? 250 exams to grade. Fun. BUT I am heading to Utah tomorrow….. More to come……….
A couple of weeks ago I talked about starting a high school mtb team in my town. Well today the journey continued. Today I held a student interest meeting at the school.
I have been working with a couple of teachers at the school to advertise and drum up some interest. When I got to the school today the teachers assured me that they had interested students.
So here is the tale of the tape. 15 kids interested. 8 of them GIRLS! In fact the girls were so excited about this that they looked around the room, noticed the lack of boys (many of the boys had other sports practices, so it was actually mostly girls at the meeting) and commented that maybe there would ONLY be a girls team. Ha!
This is perfect. I had been hoping for 5-10 kids for the team the initial year. Typically you will get about half of the interested kids to actually participate. Lets see 15 divided by 2, carry the one……Holy crap…..That’s 7.5 kids! That’s EXACTLY 5-10 kids.
Yeah, I am pumped.
OK, now…sign up the team, get the kids to sign up, parents meeting, wilderness first aid, concussion training, club at the school, get volunteers, get sponsors, find some bikes for kids who don’t have one……I got this under control.
With winter full on up in the North Country biking has turned into an indoor activity. (Today we are having “freezing fog”. Nice eh?)
A couple of years ago some friends and I stumbled on the Sufferfest videos. The videos are bike workouts you can do inside on a trainer. They have film from bike races and are set to thumping music. And as a bonus they were relatively inexpensive so we bought a bunch of them.
Last year I was working with Drew and he had a regimented schedule for my winter training. I watched A LOT of movies during my workouts last winter. But since I am on my own to train this winter I pulled them out. And you know what? They make a whole lot more sense now that I have learned a little bit about training.
Usually the flow is something like a short 10(ish) minute warm up. Followed by some sort of interval workout and then a cool down. Huh. Well that sounds familiar.
There are interval workouts for long sustained efforts, short sprints, descending intervals, threshold criss-cross intervals, etc. They fit nicely into my winter interval/cross training plan.
Bikers, if you are stuck inside this winter, and are looking for a workout. Take a look at the Sufferfest video’s. Yeah, you’ll regret it now, but later….ah let the tail kicking begin!
Picture of the Day
“There IS a slider in side of you trying to come out.”
The first half of the luge season came to a close over the weekend. Lake Placid is hosting a World Cup Bobsled/skeleton race in December and the club has no track time till after New Years. Saturday was my last shot at really solidifying the first half of me season.
Unlike the last time I slide, when the temps were high and the track was s…l…..o………w, the track conditions on Saturday were great. Temps in the low 20′s make for fast ice that is drivable. (When you get to about 0 F the ice is so hard it is a different driving experience.) The only hitch was it was snowing. Snow on the track tends to slow it down a little. But no matter off we went.
This week I pulled out my “Darth Vader” speed suit. Jet black suit, black booties, black gloves, black helmet. Back in Black Baby!
In the mood? I love the Darth Vader outfit
My goal this week was to be relaxed back into my sled and quiet. I can usually tell when I am tense because I get onto my sled and onto the track and then put a death grip on my handles. This is a BAD thing. The handles are for steering and a death grip there means you are steering (probably when you don’t want to be).
First run, on the track, back on the sled, “Off the handles Meat….” (Yeti addresses me as “Meat” when I am sliding. Funny he doesn’t use a name when I am biking.) Into the Labrynth. This is an early spot on the track where things can go to heck. It’s a 3 turn combination (quick left right left). The problems come when you transition from the right to left. When things go badly you are crossed from the right to the left early and hit a wall before the last turn in the combination. I’ve been pretty good in there this year, but on my first run I hung onto the right too long and crossed into the wall before 13. Then it was damage control. Sled back under control. Finish, not great.
The club “guru” was coaching. “Form nice, line great. But you didn’t commit to the steer there (you do this by turning your head) and hung the end of 12.” Yup.
Second run. Onto the track and onto the sled. Relaxed, down, light on the handles. Through the labrynth, into the chicane, head back, look at the guide marks on the roof, into the final combination, bobble the end (where I am really having my driving issues, I think I got air between the last two corners), still a pretty good run.
Club guru “There IS a slider in you coming out.”
Third run. Pretty much a carbon copy of the second.
Final run. Onto the track. Smoking top portion. Into the chicane, steering by the guide marks, sled shifts left into the left wall right before the entrance to the final combination. Buzzers go off. “Scotty?” “Captain we have an problem!” Full on damage control. This is not a section of the track where you want to eat ice. Its fast and dangerous. Through to the end. Worst time of the season.
Club guru: “You had a really nice transition into the chicane, nice form.” “Yeah then I hit the wall at the entrance to 17.” “What was your first reaction?” “SHIT!” “Your second reaction?”"I cannot say that, there are too many kids around!” “Just be ready with a hard steer to get the sled back onto the corner in the proper direction.”
It was a good night to end the first half of the season. I am getting very very close to making a leap and wish we could slide some more, soon. I am having a lot of fun this season. My times are not getting a lot better right now, but I feel like I am. Each time I go out I feel better on my sled. I was back and relaxed on my sled this week. I feel like the bad things are not cascading and that I am limiting the “badness”. The times will come.
Today the first portion of the ADK Luge Club’s season comes to a close. Since most of you have probably not been on a luge sled I figured I would take a little time to introduce you all to the equipment we use. OK here we go….
First you need a sled. This is mine you have seen it a lot.
The important thing to know about a sled is that it needs to weigh between 21 and 25 kg (about 50 lbs). There are a bunch of other spec’s for a sled (width, thickness, etc. actually there is a whole rule book about the sled, but weight is the most important).
The business end of the sled are the steels. Couple of important things here. The sled actually rides on about six inches of the steels, not the whole length. That’s about 1/4 of the distance shown in the picture. The steels have a slight bow in them that causes you to ride on that small portion. The other thing people are usually surprised about is that the steels are not sharp (you will never cut anything with that edge). They are not profiled or sharpened like a skate blade. There is a definite edge which you can make more or less round, but it is definitely not sharp. How sharp the edge is depends on the ice conditions. Sharper for colder harder ice. Rounder for softer warmer ice. If you are like me you have a pro put an edge on, and you never ever mess with it.
I do “polish” my steels. Meaning I used sandpaper to get them as smooth and shiny as possible.
OK the other thing I get a lot is safety equipment. Well, the only official safety equipment you need is a helmet.
The helmet is controlled by the luge federation. You may not touch or modify it. Yes as many of you have pointed out to me its not very aerodynamic (and yes a smart guy who knows something about aerodynamics could make it better). It’s been done
It’s also illegal. What they found was people were modifying the helmets to the point where they were not safe. Go figure.
The picture shows my face shield on my helmet. That keeps the wind out of your eyes. Sliding in really cold weather and having the wind causes tearing. Been there. The black garb is my speed suit. Its the outer most article of clothing. I usually wear a base layer or two under that (yes its cold, luge is not a comfortable sport).
Luge is a gravity sport and weight is important. If you are under 90 kg you can wear extra weight to get you up to 90 kg. This is my supplemental weight vest. It weights about 10 kg and is about 10kg light of what I am allowed.
Going through airport security a couple of years ago to go to Park City for a race was quite exciting with that.
Toes and feet?
The white booties are aerodynamic and force your feet in a nice pointed position. They are regulated and only made by Adidas. The gloves are not regulated in the rules (other than you must have them). My are mountain bike gloves (of course!). I got these because they have knuckle padding (which was one of the places I used to get really bruised).
When you get good enough you put spikes on your gloves.
Those are mine, not on my gloves. When you watch luge you will see the athletes paddling after they pull off the handles. The spikes give you traction on the ice so you can actually paddle. I don’t use mine. They were more of a problem (I usually went home with puncture wounds) than they were worth (it didn’t make me any faster). Someday I will put them back on my gloves.
That’s pretty much it. Some people wear elbow pads. I don’t, they are uncomfortable. I do wear arm bands to help protect my speed suit from abrasions (when hitting the wall).
Weight wise it works like this: You get 23 kg for your sled. If you are under 90 kg you get your body weight plus supplemental weight to get you to 90 kg. If you are over 90 kg you get your body weight. And everyone is allowed 4 kg for gear. Controls are strict during a race. Everyone is weighed. If you are “controlled” all of the components are weighed separately.
BTW. If you are bored, there is a live track camera here:
We are sliding at 5:30-7:00 pm (EST) tonight. I will be in all black.
Picture of the Day
Hey Folks, sorry I disappeared there. I was at a conference. Think 5000 engineer geeks in one place and you pretty much have what I was experiencing. Although the engineer geeks were from all around the world, so it had that interesting twist.
It’s Thanksgiving. The time when we are supposed to reflect on what we are thankful for. I like Thanksgiving. Its one of the least commercialized of the major holidays. Though I hear that the major retailers are open today to get a jump on Christmas. I think that should be illegal. Thanksgiving is a family holiday and people should be allowed to spend it not at work with whatever family they want.
What am I thankful for? I have had a great year. I have an awesome family who gave me the space to experience this last year. I have great friends and a job that I (for the most part) love. (I am also thankful that there is snow on the ground so I don’t have to go outside to do short force intervals!)
Being at university most of us are far away from family. Our tradition is to have friends over. Time to cook the turkey.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with friends and family.
Picture of the Day
“Time Well Spent”
So I was reading a blog from a new “virtual” friend at The Playful Life and posted a comment. To which she commented by calling me Mr. Multisport (Umm.. Ms. Multisport. Hello pot the kettle is calling. CX, SUP, surfing, etc. etc. etc.). But it got me thinking. I know the sport I can win in. Duathalons!
Not traditional duathalons. Nope. Mountain bike/luge duathalons! It’s perfect.
Look, I am not likely to win many mountain bike races. The men’s 40-49 age class is just way too strong. Luge, well solid “B” group slider. BUT how many mountain biking lugers do you know? Huh? Yeah, I thought so.
So I am starting a new federation. The International Luge/MTB Duathalon Association. I can take that field.
Wait. The number 1 US men’s luger is a good mtb’er and a really good athlete……